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Early goals help USMNT knock off Canada 2-0

The first international goals by Chris Richards and Folarin Balogun, each assisted by Gio Reyna, led the U.S. men’s national team to a 2-0 victory against Canada in the final of the CONCACAF Nations League in Las Vegas on Sunday. Richards scored in the 12th minute and the heralded Balogun in his second match followed in the 34th.

Matt Turner made four saves, all in the first half, for the U.S. while counterpart Milan Borjan made five. Richards gave the U.S. the lead with a downward header off a corner kick by Reyna. The lead doubled when Reyna sent a ball through a seam to Balogun on the run. He held off defender Scott Kennedy to get a clean shot on goal. Richards and Balogun are the only USMNT players to score their first goals in a final.

Balogun to much acclaim in May declared his allegiance to the U.S. over playing for England or Nigeria. The Brooklyn-born striker, 21, scored 22 goals in 39 games in all competitions for French League 1 club Reims last season, the most ever for an American in a top five European league. B.J. Callaghan was the U.S. interim head coach for the second straight match (3-0 over Mexico on Thursday) and will remain so through the CONCACAF Gold Cup which runs Saturday to July 16. The U.S. is the defending champion. Gregg Berhalter was named head coach again on Friday and will resume the same position post-Gold Cup. His contract was not renewed even though he took the U.S. to Round of 16 at the World Cup in December.

He was put under investigation after Reyna’s parents brought to prominence a domestic violence incident 30 years earlier between Berhalter and his then-girlfriend, now wife.

The Reynas felt Berhalter mistreated their son during the World Cup and were further upset when remarks the coach made about Gio Reyna to a private audience became public. The U.S. Soccer Federation cleared Berhalter of the domestic issue after an investigation.

Still, Berhalter admitted Friday that mending fences with Gio Reyna is a priority.

Reyna has four goal contributions (goal, three assists) in finals, more than any USMNT player in history. He left at halftime with a calf injury. –Field Level Media


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